art 2 of 2
In the first installment of this article, we spoke of the imperative of clear goal setting to advance your business development goals of building and sustaining a profitable practice. In this last installment, we will outline step-by-step how to take a blank sheet of paper (or blank monitor screen) to create a blueprint of specific steps to take in the goal-setting process.
Step 1 – Get Clear on What Your Goals Are
Begin by brainstorming potential goals. Think about what you want to accomplish in your practice such as the clients you want to work with, the type of work you want to do more of, the lifestyle you’d like to enjoy. Remember, you can have more than one goal.
Once you have completed your list, think about and jot down why each goal is important to you and why you are motivated to achieve each goal.
Step 2 – Draft Action Steps
This step is the “in the trenches” thinking wherein you outline specific steps you will take to accomplish each goal. Often, I brainstorm with my clients step-by-step on how to bring measurable results to each goal. We have found over the years, it is not so much that clients don’t know what to do but rather how and in what time frame to execute upon their specific action steps. In this step, it is best to be as specific as possible.
Step 3 – Devise Reasonable Timetable
Once you have written down your goals, why they are important to you (your motivation for achieving them) and the specific action steps you will take to achieve each goal, it is very important to write down the timetable for which you will dedicate your resources to accomplishing your goals. This is a crucial step in the goal-setting process.
I provide my clients an Action Plan Worksheet (example below) to facilitate the goal-setting process whereby clients can see at a glance what their goals are, the associated action steps and time frame for accomplishment. It is a very effective tool to stay on track.
Action Plan Worksheet
The best way to break each of the action steps into a reasonable time frame is to plot out each into a weekly action plan that is, what you will do each week to bring you closer to achieving your goals. If you break down each action step into minute pieces, you will avoid overwhelm, be more likely to accomplish smaller steps which add up to accomplishing sizable goals, and feel better about the goal-setting process.
One of the pearls of wisdom I impart to clients consistently is the importance of developing a “marketing mindset” in their everyday practice. Instead of taking off your lawyer hat and putting on your marketing hat, discipline yourself to integrate marketing activities into your everyday practice. It’s simple if you have broken down your goals into weekly action steps and you diary them on your calendar. This is how you balance your billable and non-billable time….in disciplining yourself to execute on a daily basis just a nugget of your weekly action plan. Sometimes it involves no more than a phone call, jotting off a personal note to a client, or reviewing a presentation outline. Small, simple steps taken every day in incremental fashion will propel you towards accomplishing your greater goals.
Results in building a profitable practice often do not come in big, grandiose actions but rather in the small and steady results which over time accrue into a solid practice.
As a part of devising a reasonable time frame, you must make appointments with yourself just like you would for client meetings. This is important work that you are doing, so to be successful, you must honor yourself and the work you are doing. Due to the nature of a relationship-building business, there are some elements which you cannot control and that is no more evident than in fostering and nurturing professional relationships. It is only through consistent and persistent massive amounts of action over a prolonged period of time that you will reap rewards, so stay the course EVEN when there seems to be few results. It will come.
Step 4 – Execute, Execute, Execute
This is where your commitment becomes evident. Are you honoring your goals by staying true to your weekly action plan? Are you taking at least one simple action a day towards accomplishing your goals? Jot it down to stay on track.
Clear goal setting begins with your decision of what you desire to accomplish. Then, it takes a detailed action plan to achieve your client development goals and the discipline and commitment to execute the plan. Not rocket science at all, but still a challenge for so many practicing lawyers. Get up and get going, today.
To learn the requisite concrete habits you must develop to become the rainmaker you are meant to be, click the buton below for a free download of Top Habits of Successful Rainmakers. Do it today!